Coal statistics

On this page you can find various statistics for coal fuel in New Zealand, as well as information about reserves, production and consumption.

Data tables for coal

This spreadsheet contains the latest coal data for New Zealand. The tables are updated quarterly.

Data tables for coal [XLSX, 330 KB]

Coal overview

New Zealand has in-ground coal resources of more than 16 billion tonnes, of which 80% are lignite in the South Island. There are also substantial resources of sub-bituminous coal in both islands, and a lesser amount of high-quality bituminous coal, mainly on the West Coast of the South Island.

More information on the New Zealand coal industry is available from the New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals website.

New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals website — Coal(external link)

Coal production

Coal production is centred in:

  • the Waikato — mainly for several major industrial users, and the Huntly power station
  • the West Coast — mainly for export
  • Otago/Southland — mainly for local industrial markets.
Figure 1: Coal Production
image figure 1 coal production v2

The graph above shows production figures for different types of coal in New Zealand since 1991.

Coal consumption

Most of New Zealand’s premium bituminous coal is exported. It's valued internationally for its:

  • low ash and sulphur content
  • characteristics such as high swelling, fluidity and reactivity, which allow blending with other coals for use in the steel industry.

Domestic use

Electricity generation (including cogeneration) accounts for the largest amount of domestic coal use.

Industrial coal use is primarily for:

  • cement, lime and plaster
  • meat, dairy and other food processing
  • wool, timber, pulp and paper products.

Commercial coal use is mainly for heating accommodation and service buildings in central and local government, hospitals, rest homes and educational institutions. A small amount of coal is used by the agricultural (mainly horticulture), transport and residential sectors.

For more information see section ‘C. Coal’ in the publication Energy in New Zealand.

Figure 2: Total Coal Consumption by Sector
image figure 2 total coal consumption by sector

The graph above shows coal consumption by sector in New Zealand since 1990.